The Japanese higher civil service had long been held in high esteem as meritocratic, powerful, and effective. At the same time, labor relations in the civil service had been highly conflictual. Both facets of the public sector, however, have changed beyond recognition: the higher civil service has lost its luster, while labor relations have stabilized. Part of the recent deliberations, plans, and some measures of "administrative reform" seek to revitalize the civil service and make it more open, responsive, flexible, and responsible. These are bound to change employment and personnel management patterns and affect the style of labor relations.
Why had labor relations in the civil service been so conflictual? What factors and mechanisms have contributed to their stabilization? What are the major labor-relations issues of civil service reform? How are they being defined in the policy process of administrative reform and what role have the unions been playing in this process? Does civil service reform re-de-stabilize civil service labor relations?"
Ehud Harari is Professor of Political Science ∓ East Asian Studies Hebrew University Jerusalem. His research interests are Japanese domestic and foreign policies and policy making; industrial relations, labor policy and politics in Japan; public advisory bodies and policy making and implementation in Japan and Israel. He took his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley and was Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, Oxford University, Tokyo University and others. His publications include: The Politics of Labor Legislation in Japan: National-International Interaction.